IMF says Middle East, Central Asia are facing ‘intertwined shocks’

IMF says Middle East, Central Asia are facing ‘intertwined shocks’

Agency News

Countries in the Middle East and Central Asia are facing “substantial” impact from the plunge in oil prices and spread of the coronavirus disease, the International Monetary Fund said in a blog post.

Such a challenge facing those economies could intensify in the coming months and would hit hard “the region’s fragile and conflict-turn states” such as Iraq, Sudan and Yemen, said the IMF.

At present, about three-quarters of those countries have reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 and some — such as Iran — are dealing with “a major outbreak,” said the fund.

“Beyond the devastating toll on human health, the pandemic is causing significant economic turmoil in the region through simultaneous shocks — a drop in domestic and external demand, a reduction in trade, disruption of production, a fall in consumer confidence, and tightening of financial conditions,” the blog post read.

“The intertwined shocks are expected to deal a severe blow to economic activity in the region, at least in the first half of this year, with potentially lasting consequences,” it added.